Macedonians protest national budget

Thousands of Macedonians hold rival protests for and against national budget

Associated Press

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) -- Macedonian police are trying to prevent rival groups of protesters from attacking each other outside Parliament over the conservative government's national budget, which the left-wing opposition is criticizing as wasteful at a time when many in the country are struggling to make ends meet.

About 3,000 demonstrators in two opposing groups Monday threw eggs, stones, sticks and fruit at each other, injuring at least one person. Police were trying to prevent opposition supporters from entering Parliament.

The Social Democrat-led opposition accuses the government of planning spending for grandiose monuments, expensive cars and furniture, and demands the €2.7 billion ($3.6 billion) draft budget be trimmed by more than €200 million. In an emergency meeting Sunday, the government agreed to cut €3 million.

The budget must be adopted by year-end.

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